Monday, 23 April 2012

Hemi Matenga Track North ridge- Peter MacKenzie

Pteris macilenta

Trichomanes reniforms

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I just love finding new material and I had two great days on the track at the end of last week doing just that! It is so exciting when you pick up new ferns and then identify the rascals for collection and data. Takes me a while to do the second half of the job and identifying accurately does take precision and care....I'm getting quicker but still I can get stumped . the filmy ferns sometimes fail on the fertile fronds and therefore become difficult at best and really of no use. The northeren end of the Hemi is steep and I was on my bum for a lot of the descent...much easier to go up and the forest is quite different ...hence the different ferns. At last I have Polystichum- shield ferns ...a couple of species and also Ctenopteris and Pallaea...that is what I get excited about! Core curriculum days are coming up next week and I need to do my Leadership assignment...second one before we depart for the South Island on May 24...finding it hard to be inspired about that as i have been busy getting spreadsheet of fern data up to date and also the mounting process. In quiet moments I have also been working on a power point but long way off yet and not long to go....i really love the passion i have found when i come across a new plant!!
Took in the competition to school for naming our new kiwi at Nga Manu and it will hopefully be a tribute to the late Peter MacKenzie who died last week....he was the founding father and inspiration for Nga Manu...a true conservationist. Though I never met him he is one of the reasons I am so privelleged to have this opportunity to work in such a treasure as Nga Manu....thankyou Peter.

The founder of Waikanae's Nga Manu Nature Reserve, Peter McKenzie, has died, aged 59.
Mr McKenzie founded Nga Manu in 1974, preserving the last large remnant of lowland coastal swamp forest on the Kapiti Coast.
Over the years he developed the reserve and became heavily involved with many recovery programmes to boost threatened native species.
He was involved with the Tuatara Recovery Programme for more than 20 years with over 1000 tuatara going through Nga Manu over the years for translocation.
In the mid 70s he spearheaded captive kiwi breeding programmes, setting the standard for breeding kiwis in institutions. A lot of his methods are still used today.
Mr McKenzie was also involved in the blue duck and brown teal recovery programmes and established a recovery programme for native mistletoe.
His interest in wildlife photography saw him launch Nga Manu Images producing photos used in many conservation publications.
He captured a puriri moth hatching on camera, which is still available on You Tube. Nga Manu manager Bruce Benseman described Mr McKenzie as an all round good bloke with a passion for conservation.
"He inspired thousands of people to go down the conservation path with many pursuing careers in conservation,'' Mr Benseman said.- DOM POST KAY BLUNDELL

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Polymerase Chain Reaction

Teachers' Domain: Polymerase Chain Reaction
 the lab
 the agarose gel ready for electrolysis
 the dye added

This was today"s task at Vic Uni....i really have to figure this out for my own villification! I think I get it but not so straight forward. Leon was working today with micro millilitres...tiny amounts thirtieth solutions of our original DNA.

More than half Way- Central Plateau and DNA extraction

With Easter behind us I feel that my fellowship is going down a slope to the end! Oh no! We have had a couple of tramps up to Rotopounamu and to Taranaki Falls on the Central Plateau...more interesting ferns on the way. The Stichus...Umbrella ferns on the Taranaki Falls walk were great and so many T. reniforme on the ponamu lakeside walk. to come. Beautiful weather for walking and it was good to be out and about. I am now into the process of mounting ferns and will have my first attempts this week. We use wettable tape to attach the ferns to the acid free card and leave space for the label. They must be mounted as seen growing or as closely as possible.
the equipment

Umbrella ferns- Stichus cunninghamii
Gentiana bellidifolia -not a fern but very cool

So this week has been a real science focus. On Tuesday Leon and I made our way up,up,up to Victoria University Kirk building , floor 6 , to a chemistry lab where we began a procedure to extract DNA from some 11 samples to determine if they were what they said they were morphologically. 

 Leon heating a pipette to make a glass grinder to crush the dried leaf tissue
Collecting liquid nitrogen which freezes the material in order to crush it
 cooking for 45 minutes to further break down and increase surface area for DNA extraction
Adding detergent/ then chloroform and then removing the aqueous liquid ....the DNA precipitates out and with help from the centrifuge we get pure DNA     Teachers' Domain: DNA Extraction
See the teacher domain post video in my shows exactly what we did! this site explains the PCA reaction which we do tomorrow this is a site which shows DNA extraction in a kitchen!

Teachers' Domain: DNA Extraction

Teachers' Domain: DNA Extraction